When we bought our forty acres about twenty years ago, the place where we decided to put our house had been a farm many years before. There was even an old barn and outhouse still there. I really regret not being able to salvage either building, but the termites and time had done their work well.
We tore down old wire fencing from a hog pen in the area which was between the house and the field. This left a football size area of bareness behind the house. In what I now consider a major act of courage or stupidity, I laid out my gardens. I collected old bricks from houses being torn down around town and laid several pathways. I planted boxwood hedges and huge perennial beds. I laid out an herb garden enclosed in a white picket fence. There was only one single, tiny thing I didn't know about gardening: YOU HAVE TO MAINTAIN IT! I guess I thought that once it was put in and laid out, it would take care of itself. Boy was I wrong; especially where we live. The growing season is year round.
So, I've spent the last twenty years being frustrated and never enjoying my garden. All I see is all the work that needs to be done and all the weeds and grass that need to be dealt with. I now know that gardening is a daily job. I don't like garden maintenance. I'd much rather plan the garden, put it in, and then forget it. In my next life, I'm going to be a landscape architect.
Anyway, as soon as it cools off a little (around October), I'm going to work outside a lot. Child #3 has just moved back home, so I'm going to use his services in exchange for room and board. He's going to be my gardening slave. A teenager from our church wants to earn some money for his Junior/Senior trip to Europe, so I'll hire him too for a few hours a week. Between the three of us, we should be able to whip it back into shape.
But I'm changing some things. Those large perennials beds far from the house are too much upkeep. I can't keep the grass out of the beds which are edged in brick. I'm going to let the grass retake the bed, take out the brick, dig up the perennials, and put in a hedge of roses or something similar. I'd go with the Knockout Rose, but it's so common around here I'm tired of it. I can keep up a bed of flowers if it's close to the house, so that's where I'm putting them.
I may redo the patio area right behind the house too. We never use it as it is. I can't figure out why. I've got to do some hard thinking about that. I'm reading a book called The Weekend Gardener which tells how to have a low-maintenance garden. Ha! That's funny in South Georgia. But I'm sure I could make it more low-maintenance than it is now.
Ryan Gainey's garden was on the front of Cottage Living last month. I've been an admirer of his gardening style for many years. His garden is located in North Georgia; somewhere around Atlanta. It's also open to the public, so I may pop in some day for a visit. He inspires me. I love everything he's ever done in his house and garden. I also love the gardens of Williamsburg, but that's another post. This one's getting too long!